Interfaith Evening 18 Nov 2015

We started our annual function on 18th November 2015 with mixed feelings. It was lovely to be in our shul following inspiring previous functions at the Churches of Sacred Heart (RC) and St. Peters (C of E).

We were celebrating National Interfaith Week but we were mourning the murdered wonderful young people in Paris the Friday before.

Security at the Shul was at a very high level following the Paris murders; even the Chairman of the Shul Stephen Roston wasn’t allowed to park in the shul’s car park as he wasn’t on the list!

The theme this year was Faith at Work. So, we had four speakers, one from each of the faith groups who make up the Forum. They were briefed to speak about how their faith affected their work and vice versa. They were excellent!

After a minute’s silence in memory of the Murdered Parisians, Justin Daniels, son of our members Lesley and Ian Daniels spoke about the pressures of being a paediatric consultant. He used to wear a kippah but doesn’t now as he found it a distraction to his patients’ parents. He’s religiously committed but his decisions are made only by considering what’s best for the child and his or her parents, not by his own faith.

Ciarnan Stapleton is a Catholic and is headmaster of a RC school and his faith very much influenced the practice of his profession. He told us about his decision not to become a priest.

Philip Mathews is C of E and teaches Maths at Watford Grammar. It’s a multi faith school so he doesn’t talk much about his faith to his pupils but his faith influences his way of life.

Gulamabbas Lakha, a member of Stanmore Mosque, brought more than twenty of his community with him and spoke about his role as a financier.

When Lawrence Brass asked him about the conflict of the Muslim ban on charging interest, Galamabbas distinguished between the literal translation of the Holy Text and the correct meaning. In this case it is a charge to service the capital. He was highly critical of payday lenders.

After our speakers had answered some questions, we broke for some delicious refreshments and we had half an hour of ‘interfaith’ eating, drinking and general mingling. This was very successful and the chairman had a challenge in getting the audience to regroup!

The shorter second half consisted of a general discussion involving both audience and speakers and was very ably led by Robert Shooter.

The Deputy Mayor and Mayoress of Hertsmere, Cllr Peter Rutledge and Cllr Jane West, were in attendance and proposed a vote of thanks.

We were reminded about Mitzvah day which was the following Sunday, 22nd November. A leaving collection amongst the 126 attendees raised £210 for Borehamwood Food Bank.

The evening was a great success and we all left in a very happy and positive state.

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